After a good night’s sleep, I woke up just before 7:00am and it was a wonderful feeling for the first time in a busy week to know that we did not have to do anything on this day if we did not want to. It was a beautiful morning and walking out onto the verandah and hearing the waves whilst getting that morning hit of fresh sea air felt amazing. After a quick dash to Deck 9 for some tea, we sat in bed watching the “Good Morning Disney Wonder” show on the television.
After having a shower and getting dressed, we decided to go for a walk. The ship seemed so quiet at this time as there was hardly anyone out and about yet. We made our way to the lobby atrium where both Spiderman and the Black Widow were out meeting people. It was also at this time that I noticed a man wearing what could be described as one of the most inappropriate t-shirts I’ve ever seen as you could easily interpret it two ways and one of those was not good.
We noticed the the Future Cruise Sales desk had no one waiting so we thought now would be the best time to make a placeholder reservation for our next cruise (at the time we had no idea what we wanted to book) as the desk always gets busier as the week goes on. The placeholder is $250 which they converted to £190 for us so we can make all future payments in Pounds and it is always worth booking as if you do not use it within two years, you can get the money refunded and it includes benefits such as 10% discount off the cruise fare and onboard credit which is either $100 or $200 depending on the length of the cruise.
We were both hungry by this time so we headed up to Cabanas on Deck 9 for a much needed breakfast. It was a little busier up there than the rest of the ship but still not crazy. It was unbelievable to watch people pile up their plate with a mountain of every type of food available and then not eat it – it was just so wasteful and horrible to see. If you’re not sure what you want to eat or how much you want to eat, make a few visits up to the buffet and get smaller portions instead as you can always go and get more if you want.
Once we had finished breakfast, we went back to our stateroom to collect our bags before going up to Deck 10 where we planned to chill for a few hours. This is where it became very obvious that there were lots of large families on this cruise as both the Nephews’ Splash Zone and the Goofy Pool were packed and very noisy but the adult only Quiet Cove Pool area was empty and an oasis of calm. We picked two sunloungers on Deck 10 in the shade above the Quiet Cove pool so we could look out to sea. It felt lovely to be sitting outside in the warm weather without a care in the world.
The one thing I always look forward to on a sea day is when they sound the “When You Wish Upon a Star” ship horn at midday. It never fails to put a smile on my face though I do always still laugh at the people who sit there with their fingers in their ears from the moment the announcement is made that they will shortly be sounding the horn.
Sitting doing nothing is hard work and we were both hungry again so I grabbed a couple of slices of pizza for us from Pinocchio’s Pizzeria. I still felt hungry after eating the pizza so went back to Cabanas and got a small plate of shrimp to bring back to my sunlounger and eat along with some iced water from the drink station.
Just before 2:00pm, we made our way to Deck 4 as we had tickets for the Frozen Gathering at Animator’s Palate. Even though we had done this experience on the Disney Dream the year before, we had only met Anna and Elsa and we knew that Olaf appeared with them as well on the Disney Wonder (and the Disney Magic). The tickets for these special character meet and greets can be booked online and are free of charge. The best thing though is as it is a ticketed event, there is never a long line so you do not need to get there early and wait around wasting your time – you just turn up at the time printed on your ticket which is so much easier.
After our tickets had been checked, we joined a small line inside Animator’s Palate which had both Frozen music playing as well as different winter scenes showing on all the screens around the restaurant. The line moved quickly and it was great to meet Anna, Elsa and Olaf again.
After the Frozen Gathering, we headed back up to Deck 9 for another few hours sat next to the Quiet Cove Pool. It was a little breezy as we were sailing through the Gulf of Mexico but it was not cold in the slightest. There also was no humidity which made sitting outside so comfortable. After a refreshing dip in the pool, we each ordered a Mango Mojito which after three cruises was the first alcoholic drink we’ve ever ordered onboard outside of one of the restaurants. It was definitely worth the wait and we enjoyed drinking them with a small panini from Daisy’s De-Lites and one of the amazing vanilla cupcakes from Cove Cafe. It feels like I’ve mentioned food so much already on this day, but I prefer having small bites to eat throughout the day before enjoying my dinner in the evening. There is so much food available to eat but if you are sensible and use the stairs (and not the elevators all the time like most people do), you can enjoy a whole week of cruise food and not have to worry about putting on any weight.
We sat out by the pool for quite a while as we were in no rush to get ready for the evening (one of the beautiful benefits of having second dining) as the show in the Walt Disney Theatre was The Golden Mickeys which we have both seen before on the Disney Wonder as well at Hong Kong Disneyland so we did not want to watch it again. Back in our stateroom, we sat on the verandah watching the beautiful sunset. It was at times like this that we both realised how much we loved having a verandah – for us, it is definitely worth paying extra for. We tried staying in an oceanview stateroom for four nights on the Disney Dream and hated it – I will never sail without a verandah again.
It was Formal Night and Minnie was due out on Deck 4 at 7:15pm so we made our way down to the lobby atrium a few minutes early as we expected it to be very busy. We were fourth in line to meet Minnie when the Golden Mickeys finished at the theatre and all of a sudden, the area was packed full of people so I’m glad we arrived when we did. All the character meets on this night were on Deck 4 as Deck 3 was being used for family portraits in front of backdrops, in front of the Ariel statue, in front of the Christmas tree as well as in front of the gingerbread house.
Looking around the lobby atrium, the only way you could describe the fashion of (not so) Formal Night on this cruise was “eclectic”. Among the few suits and dresses, there was everything you could think of – Christmas jumpers, reindeer antlers, whole families in matching Christmas pyjamas (they did not seem to change out of them the entire week!), camouflage, stetsons, loud Christmas suits, more tacky patterned Lularoe leggings than I have ever seen as well as a Trump “Make America Great Again” t-shirt. It really was a feast for the eyes in a bad way. I do find it quite sad when people on a cruise will not put even a little bit of effort in especially on formal night – it’s only one night of the cruise! It’s just laziness – nothing more.
After meeting Minnie, we hung around on Deck 4 people watching. As it was the Captain’s Welcome Reception, Captain Daniele and some of the Ship’s Officers were on Deck 3 but no one was talking to them like we had seen on previous cruises. There were also free cocktails being passed out but they looked a very bright day-glo colour so we did not have one. We ended up being first in line to meet Mickey who arrived at 7:45pm and was dancing around whilst Minnie finished taking photos.
Our dinner on this night was in Tiana’s Place which was a new restaurant for us as the last time we cruised on the Disney Wonder, it was still Parrot Cay. I had read so many good things about Tiana’s Place in the run up to our cruise so I was really looking forward to this meal. Even walking into Tiana’s Place, it was immediately noticeable how amazing this restaurant was going to be. The evening before, our server Harry had told us that we had a really good table and he was not wrong as we were only two tables away from the stage where the Crawfish Crooners sing.
Not long after we ordered our drinks, Tiana arrived and welcomed everyone to her restaurant she had always dreamed of opening before introducing the Crawfish Crooners onto the stage and making her way around the dining room talking to every table. What can I say apart from the fact that I fell completely in love with the Crawfish Crooners. They were absolutely brilliant and I could have listened to them all night.
For my starter I ordered the Louisiana Hot Crab Dip along with a mojito to drink. I was not keen on either of the vegetarian dishes but liked the look of the Lime Marinated Jumbo Shrimp but the rice it came with had sausage in it. Harry suggested having the shrimp with the sweet potato fries from the swordfish dish which was a brilliant idea. I really enjoyed my meal and loved the Princess and the Frog details on the china which were amazing.
For my dessert I ordered the Tiramisu and whilst we were eating, Tiana and Louis were dancing in front of the stage with some of the children in the dining room. Not long afterwards, Tiana arrived at our table to ask how our dinner had been.
There are no words to describe how much I loved Tiana’s Place. Everything about it was perfect and I could not wait for our next visit a few days later when it would be the Bayou Bash Mardi Gras parade.
After dinner we did our usual of walking the open decks with a cup of tea to help walk our dinner off. We were both still incredibly tired (the mojitos probably had not helped either) after our long week and we both agreed that on our next cruise, we are not going to do a long road trip beforehand like we did on both this one and our cruise on the Disney Dream.
Before making our way back to our stateroom, I got a camomile tea to take back with me. We had a towel dog waiting for us on the bed guarding our chocolates along with the Personal Navigator for the following day as well as a port shopping guide for Cozumel.
We were due to dock in Cozumel early the next morning and it was once again a nice feeling to know that we had no plans. We always said that apart from a few little bits and pieces throughout the week, we were going to chill and enjoy the ship on this cruise and so far, our plan of action was working out perfectly.